Junior Chef: 10-year-old Logan Guleff Wins Cooking Contest & A Trip to the White House

Logan Guleff won't settle for the usual burger with ketchup and fries. An Asian-inspired turkey burger with peanut butter? Now that's different.

The 10-year-old Memphian often whips up meals using his own recipes. His culinary curiosity led him to create a recipe he called Tuna Schooners for Michelle Obama's Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.

The contest asked kids ages 8 to 12 to create healthful meals using all of the food groups. Judges included a White House assistant chef and other high-profile foodies. Logan's dish was one of 54 winning recipes selected from more than 1,200 participants.

As Tennessee's winner, he attended the Kids' "State Dinner" hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. Logan escorted his mom, Kim, to the White House event (which was actually held at lunchtime) on August 20. The First Lady described the junior chefs as her special health ambassadors.

Logan's recipe is included in The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Cookbook. (The cookbook can be downloaded from the website.) Winners represented all 50 states, as well as three U.S. Territories, and the District of Columbia. The homeschooler, who lives in Midtown, previously competed in the Jif Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich Contest.

Logan will lead a cooking demonstration on Saturday, September 1st, at the Community Table at the Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market. The events runs from 10 a.m. until noon.

We asked Logan to talk about his experience at the White House. He emailed his replies.

MEMPHIS PARENT magazine: Were you surprised to learn your recipe was Tennessee's winner in the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge?
Logan Guleff: I knew my tuna salad was good 'cuz all my tasters liked it. But I can't believe the Tuna Schooner sailed me to the White House!

What were some trip highlights?
Seeing Julia Child's Kitchen [on display at the Smithsonian], hugging Mrs. Obama, and shaking the hand of the President! Shaking the President's Hand!!! Mrs. Obama told me I did a great job and that my dish was her favorite. She said that I'm an inspiration to other kids and she's proud of me!

The president told me I did a good job!

How did you come with your idea for Tuna Schooner?

I wanted to make my grits bowl, but I learned grits are not a whole grain. So I decided to try quinoa, an ancient grain. I tried it with salmon and coconut and I did not like it. I tried tuna and added my favorite veggies. My tasters loved it. Then I was stuck on how to serve it, in a lettuce wrap or as a dip with carrot chips. My auntie said to stuff a pepper, but who likes to bite through two layers? So I cut them in half and they looked like boats and tuna schooners were created.


What's growing in the White House Garden?
Chef Sam Kass showed us the garden, along with a National Park Ranger. The White House Garden is a National Park. Mrs. Obama grows dill, thyme, tomatoes, pumpkins, melons, strawberries, peppers, figs, and a dwarf papaya. Chef Sam said they produce 3,000 pounds of produce. We could not try anything but the papayas did look good. They have bees and did give us a sample of White House Honey. How cool is that?!

How should parents encourage kids to eat more healthful snacks and meal?
Really, I wish grownups wouldn't underestimate kid's palates and that kids' meals were more creative and flavorful. I usually eat healthy, so it is easy for me to run and play. Milk is the hardest for me. Healthy food really makes you feel better.

Is there any aspect of cooking you don't enjoy?
I don't enjoy baking. And I never want to cook an octopus. They are my favorite animal. I love to chop, grind, and mash! I would love a big mortar and pestle.

What do you want to be when you grown up?
 I want to be a either a chef, an oceanographer, a garbage man, or an astronaut.

What's your next adventure in life?
 I really want to go to Mars, but that may have to wait. I do have another contest cooking and school. I also will be in A Christmas Carol day show at Theater Memphis and that's exciting. 


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